What is mediation?
Simply put, mediation is a method of solving disputes that is alternative (and in many ways superior) to commercial litigation. It is an informal, confidential process in which a neutral third party (the mediator) works with all parties to the dispute to enable them come to a resolution without the involvement of courts.
How much does mediation cost?
The cost of mediation is generally to the mediator’s fee which is an hourly rate born equally by the parties. So if there are three different parties to the dispute, your responsibility would be about one third of the mediator’s fee. In some mediations, particularly family mediations one of the parties may be required by the Court, by agreement or by law to bear the full cost of the mediation. In those cases the mediation may be free to the other parties!
How long does it take?
Most mediations are usually accomplished in a few hours. Compared to litigation which may take years, the savings to the parties in time and money (not to mention aggravation) is often considerable.
Do I have to file a lawsuit to start a mediation?
Not at all! In fact if possible, we encourage parties to try mediation before filing suit. On the other hand, where the litigation process has begun, most courts consider mediation a valuable ally facilitating a quick resolution and lightening their already overcrowded dockets. Many judges will actually require the parties to mediate before scheduling cases for trial.
Is any special preparation necessary to mediate?
Not really. Your knowledge of your dispute is usually sufficient. The mediator may ask the parties to prepare in advance a short statement of the case in his preparation.
Do I need to hire a lawyer to go to mediation?
You do not need to hire a lawyer or bring one with you to mediation. For that matter, you are not legally required to hire a lawyer when you represent yourself in court. The beauty of mediation is that it doesn’t require any particular expertise to participate. That said, sometimes, you need a lawyer to look after your rights both in litigation and mediation and as such, we encourage you to use your best judgment in making that decision.
What’s the difference between mediation and arbitration?
Often those two terms are (incorrectly) used interchangeably. Arbitration is more like a private version of a trial where the arbitrator hears each side’s argument and makes a ruling which is binding upon the parties. In contrast, a mediator’s rule is simply to facilitate. If the mediator is doing his job right he won’t even suggest an ending, let alone bring one about. Rather the mediator’s role is to get the parties to a place where they can come to their own resolution. In contrast to arbitration, if the parties are unable to resolve the matter on their own, the mediation is ultimately “impassed” (terminated) and the parties are then free to pursue other methods of resolution including trial and arbitration.
What does the mediator do?
I like start this answer by telling folks what the mediator doesn’t do. First, the mediator isn’t a lawyer. She doesn’t give legal advice and in fact even if she is a lawyer her job is not to tell you what the law is. If you think you will need such advice, you will need hire a lawyer separately for the mediation.
Secondly, the mediator is not a judge or jury meaning that the mediator will not decide a winner or loser. If the parties don’t like what the mediator says or whatever offers are on the table they are free to terminate the mediation and walk away from the negotiating table.
The mediator’s job is to enable the parties to come to their own resolution and while this may see a formidable task, it is one in which mediators are more often than not successful as the overwhelming majority of cases settle before going to trial.
How do I start the mediation process?
Call us! (855) 973-4835 (855 97FIVE5)